Series: The Mistresses of Versailles Trilogy
Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: Atria Books (September 1, 2015)
Carefully researched and ornately detailed, The Sisters of Versailles is the first book in an exciting new historical fiction trilogy about King Louis XV, France’s most “well-beloved” monarch, and the women who shared his heart and his bed.
The Sisters of Versailles centers on the (relatively, at least for the genre) overlooked period of early 18th century France. The French Revolution and Marie Antoinette have been extensively written about; it’s time for fans of that time period to step further back in time and to explore the reign of Louis XV (1715 – 1774) a time of increasing social turbulence and change that sets the stage neatly for the Revolution that follows.
Goodness, but sisters are a thing to fear.
Set against the lavish backdrop of the French Court in the early years of the 18th century, The Sisters of Versailles is the extraordinary tale of the five Nesle sisters—Louise, Pauline, Diane, Hortense, and Marie-Anne—four of whom became mistresses to King Louis XV. Their scandalous story is stranger than fiction but true in every shocking, amusing, and heartbreaking detail.
Court intriguers are beginning to sense that young King Louis XV, after seven years of marriage, is tiring of his Polish wife. The race is on to find a mistress for the royal bed as various factions put their best foot—and women—forward. The King’s scheming ministers push Louise, the eldest of the aristocratic Nesle sisters, into the arms of the King. Over the following decade, the four sisters—sweet, naïve Louise; ambitious Pauline; complacent Diane, and cunning Marie Anne—will conspire, betray, suffer, and triumph in a desperate fight for both love and power.
In the tradition of The Other Boleyn Girl, The Sisters of Versailles is a clever, intelligent, and absorbing novel that historical fiction fans will devour. Telling the story of a group of women never before written about in English, Sally Christie’s stunning debut is a complex exploration of power and sisterhood—of the admiration, competition, and even hatred that can coexist within a family when the stakes are high enough.
Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble
In the court of King Louis XV, four out of the five Nesle sisters become mistresses of the King. The younger King has seemed enamored with his older Polish wife for the past seven years, but those closest to the King see his interest waning and rush to place a new interest in his sights. Louise, the oldest Nesle sister is chosen to fulfill the role. Louise enjoys her years as the King’s lover and confidant, but when Louise invites her sister Pauline to court, she quickly finds out that Pauline’s only objective is to take her place and gain power. With Pauline by his side the King figures out that he has a taste for the Nesle blood and as more sisters come to court, they find ways to replace one another in the King’s bed.
With five sisters I imagined that this book would contain plenty of drama. From the time that the sisters are in their nursery, it is shown that these women each have their own personality and some will be a force to be reckoned with. At first, I was a little concerned that I wouldn’t be able to tell these five sisters apart from one another, but each was written with such distinct features and personality that I had no problems. The court life of Louis XV was obviously researched in detail, from the fashions, to the politics, and the King’s interests were all written so I had no trouble imagining their world. What made this book extremely intriguing for me was of course the sister drama. The reactions of each sister and their motivations as they came to power and were replaced made this book exciting as betrayal, cunning, scandal and heartbreak each took the stage.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
Sally Christie was born in England of British parents but grew up mostly in Canada. As a child she moved around with her family and then continued her wandering as she pursued a career in international development; she’s lived in 14 different countries and worked in many more. She’s now settled in Toronto and loving it.
Sally lives and breathes history; ever since she read Antonia Fraser’s masterful Mary, Queen of Scots when she was 10, she’s been an avid history junkie. She wishes more attention and technical innovation was devoted to time travel, because there is nothing she would rather do than travel back in time! Writing historical fiction is a poor substitute, but it’s the best one we have at the moment.
When not reading and writing history, she’s a tennis and Scrabble fanatic.
Connect with Sally
Website | Goodreads